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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

 

20/11/2011 Blackheath

Hmmm! Twenty Eleven Twenty Eleven.... The fog did not lift while I was on site today. The sun almost broke through on a couple of occasions but the church and the other local buildings only appeared occasionally as flat grey shapes. The A2 was mostly out of sight. Flying in cotton wool with only 1mph gets disorientating and with no feedback down the lines kites inevitably fall off the edge. The Zens (Race Framed) worked well even if the lines 'glued' in the wet atmosphere. The real surprise was the CR kite with race frame. 'More brake' after last weekend revealed a great configuration which felt 'crisp' even in the very light air. Looking at the bridle (Rev 1) compared to the Zen it is very interesting how much difference can be achieved in the handling characteristics even if the sails are a very similar area.* All the more reason to check out Carl's bridle configuration in due course. Felix *The kites were very wet and so, somewhat unusually, taken out of the bags and set up to dry out at home providing the opportunity to check the sail area/geometry.

Felix

Felix

 

13/11/2011 Blackheath

A glorious sunny November day. It was not actually much warmer than last weekend but it certainly felt it. Light breezes so full 1.5 with race rods. Four fliers switched between 'free form' and 'called' with 'Plan A' getting a couple of runs through. The 'free form' is developing into something like the 'no cut' fighter kite set-up. Fly close but avoid actual impact. The group migrated across the sky on several occasions and certainly attracted the attention of passers by. We had applause from a distance a number of times. We flew 'arcs' as noted in a graphical routine posted recently. We found that there was a simple transition from 'two pairs' to 'fours' which can be repeated like an 'infinity'. With a little fine tuning it will be a great holding move. It will be interesting to try the transitions from twos to threes and fours. I had a new kite to fly today.* The Carl Robertshaw sail arrived yesterday! I spared it with a four wrap centre and three wraps the rest. At this stage it has the 'standard' bridle but it certainly felt different to the regular Rev 1 sail. Long arm 'fast forward' seemed to work very well. It will be interesting to add further brake to this kite as the supplied pigtails on the clip less handles were at the maximum setting... <grins> Felix *See http://www.waddingtoncustot.com/exhibition/current/1/ for the current exhibition at work!

Felix

Felix

 

06/11/2011 Blackheath

A grey November day, and chilly in the NE breeze even if 12 degrees centigrade is warm compared seasonal averages... Green Race in vented sails again! Being aware that the kites were occasionally over powered in flight we noticed how much flex we were seeing in the spars when attempting ground work. It was difficult to keep the kites still. The Rev 2 B Vented with Race Rods showed no spar flex by comparison and was very light, in pull, on 80ft lines. A lazy team fly again today with no calls; close flying turns providing plenty of potential for composing manoeuvres although much of what occurred would be challenging to repeat. I flew a constant 'diagonal square turned infinity' for some time and watched to see how the other kites interacted. I would be interested to see how this could be integrated into a routine. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

30/10/2011 Blackheath

The trees in Greenwich park have turned colour since last week. Blink and you miss the autumnal moment. Green Race with full vented today. Occasionally over powered but mostly on the comfortable side with arms down and handles horizontal pulling the turns as necessary and holding altitude. I am still amazed at how much input is possible with long arms in 'slow' flying. The angle of the sail is so critical.. A lazy day in team terms. Only three so finding the gap in the middle of random flying was my game plan with the occasional lapse into piano scale moves. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

23/10/2011 Blackheath

The team kites have been washed and aired thanks to one of the younger members of the the team. There is still sand in the kite bags though! Seems like it is there by default. Breezy on Blackheath today starting with vented and Green Race Rods but eventually switched to 4 wrap. Could have flown the Mega Vented which would have spared the aching shoulders. I'm enjoying getting 'tuned in' to a wind speed with a given kite and using the 'long arm' movements to 'pin' the kite for turns and speed, especially when flying slowly. Today I spent some time flying a V shape with a 90 degree turn low down and inward or outward 180 turns at the top of the window. Hitting the diagonals precisely, 'rail track like', out of turns is particularly satisfying. <grins> (piano scales...) Felix

Felix

Felix

 

16/10/2011 Blackheath

Another sunny Sunday. From 10:30am it was a Zen breeze until a residual weather front approached about two hours later. We were four fliers and occasionally fell into team order. Steve (goestoeleven) joined us when we had switched from Zen to 1.5... Steve had obviously enjoyed plenty of flying time since the last time he joined us on Blackheath. We flew ad-hoc and then some called moves. 'Pendulums' and 'rolling balls' were flown. When we were packing up a local person approached us and explained that she had 'almost crashed her car' having been distracted by watching our kites... Oh well! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

09/10/2011 Blackheath

The temperature is still not normal in London but not as hot as last weekend. Full vented with Race just about held up today in the lulls but were sometimes over powered. I'm going to tie some new leaders with close 'figure eight' knots as an Autumn project as I need some extra brake points. Four fliers today repeatedly 'rolled' the ball quite effectively. We also addressed rotating the 4 flier face in stack, rotating it through 180 degrees... That was fun! Attached is an image from last Sunday. Thanks Maggie... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

02/10/2011 Blackheath

Back to Blackheath today but obviously conditions were a little unusual for October with the thermometer at 29 degrees Celcius! I left the Heath at about 1:00pm to seek shelter from the sun. Stephen Versteegh has proposed Scheveningen as a Mega Team event for 2012 which is very exciting. I hope that everyone will be able to commit... Today was almost a 3 kite day - I started with 1.5 SUL (Ex iQuad) as I did not have the Zen in the bag. Subsequently Zen and then the Race 2. I'm more convinced now that the Zen suits our Rev 1 flying style with the stiffer/heavier frame set that we have been using by default. Next time out I will try the Race centre but I am sure that I did not find it comfortable the first time out. I must try Carl's kite on my own handles sometime to get a feel for the larger sail and alternative bridle... By the time I left the Heath today the wind was overpowering the 1.5 sail with SUL rods. The Zens had been put away sometime earlier... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

25/09/2011 after Margate

Margate proved that sometimes the sun can shine on the last weekend in September. We had two glorious days... The forecast southerly breeze arrived on Saturday morning after a brief time when the 'land sea breeze' (northerly) had the upper hand. A good day followed, albeit somewhat turbulent. We were using the Rev 1 sails and our standard 3 wrap spars with a 4 wrap centre. Imagina performed on Saturday and Sunday and I think that I will be able to put some video from Saturday on You Tube at some point. On Sunday the southerly breeze was established when we set up at 10:00am. Later in the day there was a gradual increase in wind speed and we switched to the 1.5s with 3 wrap spars. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

19/09/2011 after Scheveningen

It was a very good weekend despite showers on Saturday and Sunday morning. 1.5 Vented sails were all we used, swapping from Race to 4 wrap on Saturday later in the afternoon. Race rods on Sunday! On Sunday afternoon the breeze which had been slightly offshore rather than along the beach gently swung through about 90 degrees to a steady onshore which lasted until the end of the event. This provided probably the best flying conditions we have experienced this year and Jacob called a great routine to Miles Davis 'Tutu' followed by a final Beatles 'Come Together'. We carried on flying outside the arena for quite some time after the arena spot before taking a break before the final Super Sixteen which also proved to be a highlight of the event, if not the year. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

11/09/2011 Blackheath

Vented 1.5s with 4 wrap in gradually strengthening SW breezes today. We had a visit from a scout for 'Britain's Got Talent' and suggested that a Mega Fly might be a contender. I did mention the 100 number and explained the logistical issues. (NB I am aware that we do not have 100 UK fliers anyway!) On a more practical level we tried a 'dice 5 block' doing 'quarter turn stepped infinities' which is something I would like to see done 'in grid'. We brought the kites as closely together as was practical and then ramped up the turn interval... Scheveningen (17-18/09/2011) looks set to be an interesting Rev Event this year given the scheduled 16 flier Mega-Team. Stephen Versteegh has told me that we should expect to work hard! I'm very much looking forward to that event and also our return to Margate the following week which will conclude events for 2011. Somewhere along the way we have now done 200 festival events. Last weekend was the 25th Bristol event. The Decs were there for 21 of them. I missed the 2006 one... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

04/09/2011 Bristol

Another great weekend. The weather held* and the crowds turned up to the 25th Bristol event. The Decs have, I think, attended 21 times as a team. I missed the 2006 one! With the Olympics taking place next year in the UK the Bristol Kite event is will not occur in 2012. I do hope that it will go ahead in 2013! Felix *We used Rev1, Rev1.5 and Vented1.5 during the course of the weekend <grins>

Felix

Felix

 

29/08/2011 Portsmouth

A great weekend in Portsmouth even if the promised arena boundaries never arrived and the PA was only 'fully' operational on Sunday thanks to the efforts of Jon and Gill. The 2pm Mega Fly on Sunday drew the crowds and did not 'interrupt' the main arena events especially after the 'prolonged' shower had curtailed the time available. The 'mini mega' team format in the main arena also seemed to work very well. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

21/08/2011 Blackheath

Lighter breezes today full 1.5 sail with Race Rods. I had been worried that the tracking moves that I had been working on with the vented kites over the last couple of weeks would not translate back onto the full sail but today I found that everything worked just fine.* Taking it onto the team kites without the JB panelled sail structure will be the next step. (*Reading back, I find, that of course I had been using the full JB sail on the last weekend in July on the same project!) Portsmouth next weekend could be interesting or not depending on the willingness of the fliers to get involved outside of their normal comfort zone. I am hoping to see some development of the 'moving grid' as we flew 16 in Long Beach last year and more recently 9 at Sunderland. It would be great to see this at 36 kites... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

14/08/2011 Blackheath

Vented 1.5 with green race today for me. Warmer than last weekend but still the occasional dark grey cloud passing low. No rain or thunder risk today... Ad hoc flying mostly avoiding anything that looked like a follow. With only three kites today we saw some drifting cogs and rotations. Some of those rotating moves can be executed quite passively as others have noted in the Cartwheel thread. You just go with the flow... I am looking forwards to the Portsmouth event still hoping that we can hit 48 and do some new moves in the grid anyway. Just raided the loft for auction items for the Portsmouth and Bristol events. Unearthed some Decs kit that does not look like it was ever flown. Not Revs though! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

07/08/2011 Blackheath

Bright and breezy start so full vented and 4 wrap. Applying 'light wind technique' to flying the vented kites has been my objective for some time now and today was another opportunity to test the concept further. From a practical point of view my 'test' is to fly the kite as slowly as is possible without ending up with 'tired' muscles due to 'hanging on' to the handles. Plenty of brake for starters and then a 'ready to move' stance, one foot a stride forwards, arms down at side, handles horizontal. Switching the leading foot is trivial, finding the point to swing the arms, less so, but out at the edge of the wind window there is opportunity for plenty of input to maintain direction and speed. In the centre of the window initiating and completing turns can be accomplished without changing angle of attack with the L/R handles. Here I am mostly intent on wing-tip turns with a precise exit point after the turn. An approaching cloud ended the session today as once again there was a possibility of thundery conditions. The rain started just before we reached the cars and it was those big ice cold drops that had travelled from a high altitude. Felix Just moments after posting there was a peal of thunder from another passing shower. Be careful everyone!

Felix

Felix

 

31/07/2011 Blackheath

We learned that Knokke-Heist would not go ahead, for us, mid-week. Today was a typical summer's day on Blackheath which is now turning a more seasonal brown rather than the recent lush green after a mostly wet June and July. Breezes were light and variable often dropping off completely. The direction was switching c180 degrees over a short time frame as well. It was not quite a Zen breeze so full sail 1.5 with normal race rods seemed about right. Following on from last week I was concentrating on articulating straight line flying before and after a 45 or 90 degree 'crisp' (wing tip) turn all at a constant speed. In the variable conditions this required a lot of arm and groundwork. We discussed how to learn to avoid pulling the handles in to the chest by developing muscle memory. This basically comes down to playing those scales over and over again especially in light conditions. In more consistent breezes using a kite with more venting than strictly necessary could have the same learning effect making the flier work a little harder to achieve the desired line. As ever, the solo flier will never have to make the extra effort to match fellow team flier's trajectories... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

24/07/2011 Blackheath

Martin was on the field early and had done three changes of spars in the 1.5 full vented by the time I arrived. So it was full vented and green race for the second weekend running. Today was lighter than last weekend with no threat of thundery showers. The breeze dropped off completely on occasions. For most of the time we flew 'free form' hitting the interaction points to a silent accompaniment. The swifts do it well as I mentioned a while back. I was drilling a 'counted turn' pattern which very much relied on a full pull back for upward LE horizontal moves. Handles horizontal, full forward pulled from outstretched arms forwards back past the thighs <grins> Eventually we fell in to some team moves called by Ashley with some crisp execution by all until the breeze dropped once again. We're still hoping to go to Knokke-Heist in Belgium 20-21st August but will only know coming Wednesday 27th July if the event is actually going ahead. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/07/2011 Dunstable

It was Johnny Claffey's 50th birthday party celebration last night and while I had not expected him to be out flying kites today I had not anticipated that I would be the only one from the team to turn up at Dunstable c10:00am for a casual attendance at the two day event. At Long Beach last year it was apparent that most of the fliers were in possession of all the JB Sails and they quickly took the 'mid vent' option in intermediate conditions. At Dunstable today almost all of the fliers made the same choice. I do not know if they were all using race rods but TFS certainly were during the morning session. I opted for the full vented kite with green race rods which felt comfortable in drilling long arm turns and traverses. I was particularly conscious of the long pull back needed for a vertical flight with the LE horizontal. No deck chair option here! Leaving the event soon after 2:45pm I saw lightning over London in one of the passing showers. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

10/07/2011 Blackheath

It was another light wind day on Blackheath. There was enough to keep the full sail 1.5s with Race frames moving most of the time for individual flight. In team we slipped into parallel passes in a block form expanding and contracting the square of four fliers following last weekends grid fly. We did not try rolling the ball today. That is an exercise that needs a steady breeze. Some freestyle cogged rotations led to some interesting tangles that were unwrapped successfully in flight. A run through of 'Plan A' rounded things off with the observation that one flier was getting into trouble with hands high in the air. Symptom or cause? Moving on the ground sometimes has to be quite radical in team flying in order to keep things neat in the sky especially in marginal conditions. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

03/07/2011 Sunderland

Well it really was sunny Sunderland, especially Sunday. Light and variable breezes through the weekend with occasional lulls to very little indeed. (Somewhat different to conditions last year!) However, some of Fusion and some of The Decs put together a couple of 'small grid' performances to round off the event on both days. Given the light breezes the 9 person 'moving grid' proved to be the way to keep things together with the 'expanding and contracting grid' in horizontal transit a notable success. Both teams performed their arena presentations as well. The Decs first attended the Washington (Tyne and Wear/Sunderland) event in 1989 and have returned a dozen or so times since then. (I was there in 1987, I think, before the team was formed) Felix

Felix

Felix

 

26/06/2011 Blackheath

The forecast came good and shortly after 10:00am I arrived on Blackheath to find a 'full on' UK Summer's Day. Not much wind, that is, and the slight breezes shifting quickly through 180 degrees and more. It was great to get the Zens out and lock in to the 'treacle interval' some of the time. 'Flailing' in slow motion to accommodate the size of the kite is just so 'cool'. I was conscious of the 'three finger tips' on the handles 'no grip' with the thumb nail and small finger nail occasionally in opposition to the fingers. Every opportunity to drop the handles. <grins> No doubt it will be back to earth next weekend in Sunderland but we will be prepared... Felix

Felix

Felix

 

19/06/2011 Blackheath

Second short weekend (working 9:30-1:30 Saturday) so looking forward to a proper weekend next week prior to the Sunderland event. The 'westerly' c15mph breeze on Blackheath was relatively clean today but still shifting c30 degrees in direction and proportionally in strength. Full vented and 4 wrap was the order of the day. After the rain and bluster of the last few weeks we did not fly 'in team' as such today but I did notice some fairly wicked passing moves where the individual kites are finding the spaces and recognising the trajectories of others in close proximity. The ability of the fliers to 'stop' precisely in any orientation 'if needs be' is a key issue here. My 'piano scales' today focused on the 'holding stress/release' of arms straight down and engaging this stance with basic kite turns. <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

12/06/2011 Blackheath

The forecast seen last Sunday was correct. It was wet on Blackheath today meaning that since returning from Cervia it has been blustery or wet every Sunday. Seems like we had Summer back before Easter... At least it was not too windy at c10:30am to put up full 1.5 sails with Race Rods but not much more than an hour later the decision was not to get another sail wet in the increasing breeze but to call it a day. We (four fliers) rolled the 'ball' without calling LE edge out and LE edge in and it appeared that the reflexes are becoming more automatic with everyone watching the shape and responding accordingly. The fact that the pathways for individual kites are not 'linear' makes for a fascinating manoeuvre. <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

05/06/2011 Blackheath

A slight respite today, 1.5 Standard Vented 4 wrap was good for a late 11:00am start but thickening high cloud turned to rain early in the afternoon. The current forecast is for rain next Sunday as well, maybe making up for the drought, this Spring, in SE England. I will take the wet weather gear, just to be sure... Just before leaving Blackheath today we discussed some aspects of 'long arm' flying, using arms, shoulders and torso as well as moving on the ground to 'throw' the kite around the sky and achieve absolutely 'rigid' stops 'at any angle in the sky'. Light wind techniques translate directly into middle and high wind conditions providing that 'brake' settings are appropriate. Felix

Felix

Felix

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